A friend sent me a text about a week ago asking when I might be available to meet up for a quick coffee or glass of wine. It had been nearly four months since we had last seen each other and there was certainly much to catch up on. I responded by asking, "How about three Thursdays from now?" I wasn't trying to be funny; it was literally the next free evening I had on my calendar for such a social engagement.
A few days later, I was trying to coordinate some things for the weekend. I needed to be at a dinner around 7:15 p.m. on Friday night and the person I'm currently dating had hoped to spend some time together before my "girls" dinner. I managed to weave through traffic with about 40 minutes to spare before my dinner. That was the equivalent of about half a glass of wine. He then asked, "What about tomorrow; when will I see you?" I explained that I was rising early to meet a friend, so hopefully I could make dinner.
I made my way back up to West Los Angeles in time to drive my companion to the airport, but I arrived with dark circles under my eyes and a remarkably low energy level. It only took one last look of disappointment masking frustration for me to surrender and admit to being over-scheduled. I also promised to reintroduce the word "no" into my daily vocabulary.
For regular readers, you may roll your eyes and think you've heard this story before. But, like many things in our lives, it is easy to have goals and ambitions before seeing choices allow healthy habits to fade into unhealthy ones. Mind you, saying "no" to things is different than telling everyone that you are "too busy." The main difference? Establishing priorities and then making decisions to stand by them.
Last week, I initiated a challenge for all of us to be proactive in choosing a more healthy lifestyle so that we might feel stronger from the inside out. I focused on healthy eating, less sugar and increased water consumption in order to feel good about the nutrition we use to feed our bodies and souls. I learned a hard lesson this week , though. All of this will be nearly irrelevant if we don't maintain a healthy balance in our schedules to allow for physical and mental rest.
I have been making better nutritional choices, yet there are dark circles under my eyes and I find myself less excited about life and relationships. As women, we are wired to be relational. We are also wired to be nurturing, attentive and often selfless. At least for me, it is not natural to say "no" for fear of disappointing someone or even simply because I want to embrace it all. But I have to learn to slow down.
This week's healthy habits involve sleeping more and prioritizing. Not even Wonder Woman could be in three places at one time, so I shouldn't assume I am capable of such a feat. I know this is a true challenge for so many of us, but creating boundaries is important and the result will be healthier habits that build strength from within.
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